A scheme to stop children starting blazes has dealt with 750 youngsters in two years, some as young as four.Because, one presumes, the criminal justice system is just letting the little blighters off with cautions?
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service launched the FIRES scheme in a bid to stamp out deliberate fires and attacks on firefighters.
Ann Darby, youth development officer at the service, said: “We deal with youngsters who start fires out of curiosity, who make malicious calls at school, and who attack fire personnel.And I suppose a clip round the ear’s out of the question there?
“Anyone can refer them to us, including schools and parents, and then we put the child on an individual programme after we’ve figured out what they will react best to.”
“We will also use different materials and props, depending on the age of the child and how quickly they are picking up the safety messages.Why the need for a follow-up phonecall? Are you relying on the kids or their parents to admit to further offences? Because if so, this is surely doomed to fail!
“A month afterwards we will do a follow-up phonecall to see if there have been any recurring incidents, and then again, eight months later.
“It’s not a quick process, but our figures suggest it’s working really well.”